Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Secrets to Eating Right In 2013

Are you ready to make the Year of the Water Snake your healthiest year ever?  Look, we've been into the calendar new year for a month now and I'm wondering how many of you are sticking to your exercise regimen, still eating the right foods and in general taking care of yourself?

We Chinese believe that the secret to happiness emanates from a healthy body and mind...they are inseparable. The health of the body affects that of the mind...and both are defined in terms of CHI. The key to a healthy body is to eat a correct balance of Yin and Yang foods...and to reduce the intake of pollutants like chemical and artificial additives. 

The "Chi Theory" of Food 

The health of the body affects
that of the mind
Now as many of you know, "chi" is described as the LIFE FORCE of the human body and spirit. When it is in balance it radiates strong heath and interacts favorably with the environment of space and time. 

When it is out of balance, it becomes weak and this manifests a variety of negative body systems. Hence the quality of your body chi is a vital component of your personal feng shui.

One form of energy or "Chi" is the food we eat - and since it is the easiest and most accessible form of energy, it is helpful to understand the "Chi Theory" of food.

According to this theory the higher up the food is in the echelon of living things, the less favorable it is in terms of being a source of good Chi.

Animal foods are high up the echelon while vegetable foods are in the middle level and root foods are on the lowest the most favorable foods are plants and vegetables but better yet the edible roots of the plants. So a good rule of thumb is the closer to the ground or earth, the more favorable in being a source of Chi.


Tea is Yin, Coffee is Yang

Foods are also classified according to yin and yang. If you follow the Chi theory of food, it is generally accepted that when your body is more "yin" in nature, you will live a longer life because the degeneration of the internal organs is slowed down...thus many people favor a diet of more "yin" foods.

Yin foods are also ideal for those who feel stressed out, irritable and under pressure as they serve to calm the spirit and revitalize the inner Chi essence...and they are generally best consumed during the summer "yang" months to help keep the body in balance.

Do be aware that too much yin food in the body reveals itself in forgetfulness, tiredness, lethargy and a general feeling of listlessness. Bodily symptoms could manifest in the form of diarrhea, pale complexion and lack of color in the eyes and skin. 

If you observe these symptoms you may want to up your intake of YANG foods. For your reference I have included a list of yin & yang foods which is by no means exhaustive but will give you some ideas.
YIN Foods
  • Foods that are green or white in color and slow to cook
  • Grain products
  • Beans of green variety
  • Plain rice and porridge
  • Plain tofu bean curd
  • Melons
  • Seaweed
  • Green vegetables
  • White vegetables
  • Water
  • Tea
  • Boiled and Steamed Foods
  • Foods that are cool and bland
Cooking tips to make your food more YIN
  • Use less heat, less salt and less cooking time
  • Some suggested methods of cooking are boiling, poaching and steaming
  • Use fresh raw foods and steam them
  • In the summer when temperatures are higher (YANG) try a lighter style of cooking using less spices and more fresh, raw foods so that the energy that dominates will be YIN

Stressed out? Eat more Yin Foods

Yang foods on the other hand are usually rich, heavily flavored strongly sauced and hot, often fried and best eaten during the winter "yin" months. Yang foods are excellent for those who are chronically short of energy (your body is depleted of yang essence and will benefit from extra yang chi) and also for new mothers.

When there is an excess of Yang foods in the body, you may find bodily symptoms such as heartburn, constipation, cold sores, rashes, pimples, acne and ulcers and when you observe such symptoms you may want to increase your intake of Yin foods.

YANG Foods
  • Foods with gold or red colours on the inside with strong taste
  • Usually baked, fried or barbecued
  • Meat products - lamb, veal beef,
  • Fish - salmon, tuna, cod etc
  • Poultry - chicken, duck, geese
  • Crustaceans - prawns, lobsters, crab
  • Carrots, tomatoes, garlic, onion
  • Pineapple and mango
  • Carbonated drinks, coffee, alcohol of all kinds
  • Chocolates, Sweets
  • Nuts
  • Chiles
Cooking tips to make your food more YANG
  • Use more heat, salt and cook longer
  • Some suggested methods of cooking are deep-frying, roasting and stir-fry and BBQ
  • In the winter months when temperatures are colder (YIN), try a heartier style of cooking likes stews and soups and use lots of spices so that the energy that dominates will be YANG

Yang foods are often fried with sauce
The key to a healthy body is to eat the correct balance of yin and yang if you're feeling stressed try more yin foods, and if you're tired and listless add more yang foods to your diet.
Good luck

Note: This article focuses only on an awareness of yin & yang foods and is not intended as medical advice. For more info and further study you may want to consult a qualified Chinese herbalist or traditional Chinese Medical doctor. 


cybershamans (karmapolice) / CC BY-NC-ND 3.0


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